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Official Records



Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke
C. S. Army


Numbers 13. Report of Brigadier General J. S. Marmaduke, C. S. Army, commanding expedition.


Jacksonport, Ark.,
May 20, 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report, briefly, the movements of my division in the late expedition into Missouri.
My command consisted of the following brigades: Shelby's Missouri cavalry brigade, Greene's Missouri cavalry brigade, Carter's Texas cavalry brigade, and Burbridge's brigade, composed of Burbridge's Missouri cavalry regiment and Newton's Arkansas cavalry regiment. My whole strength was about 5,000 men, eight pieces of field artillery, and two light mountain pieces. Of this force about 12,000 were unarmed and 900 dismounted. Of those armed, the greater part had shot-guns; some were armed with Enfield rifles and Mississippi rifles, and some with common squirrel rifles. I carried with me the unarmed and dismounted men for two reasons: First, with the hope of arming and mounting them, and, second, knowing, from the great anxiety of all to go into Missouri, that, if that, if left behind, many would probably desert, I therefore deemed it most advisable them with me, hoping to be able to arm and mount them. I concentrated my division on Eleven Points River, and intended marching in the direction of Rolla, but found it impossible to do so. The country for at least 100 miles was without forage or subsistence, it having been destroyed to prevent raids or army movements. I then determined to march to the east of Ironton, capture the outpost (a regiment) at Patterson, and strike [John] McNeil, who was at Bloomfield, with a force I estimated to be about 2,000, cavalry, infantry, and artillery. I anticipated that McNeil, on hearing of my move, would make forced marches to reach Ironton before I could

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cut him off. If successful in capturing McNeil's forces, I anticipated that my whole command could be well armed and finely mounted for vigorous action. It was impossible, on account of forage and subsistence, to march the whole division by one route on Patterson. And I furthermore desired to make demonstration, as if a large force of infantry and cavalry were invading the State via Thomasville, Houston, and to the west of Rolla, expecting by this means to withdraw all their forces from Northern Arkansas and extreme Southwest Missouri, and at the same time throw the forces about Ironton, Patterson, and Bloomfield off their guard until I had gained a position to surprise or cut off the forces at Patterson and Bloomfield, and thence move northward between Saint Louis and Ironton, if deemed it advisable. I divided the command into two columns: One under Shelby, composed of Shelby's and Burnbridge's brigades, to march via Van Buren, Mo., and reach Patterson on the evening of April 20; the other, under Carter, composed of Carter's and Greene's brigades, to march via Doniphan and reach Patterson the same evening. Shelby had instructions to throw out scouts well to his left, to create the impression of a force moving northwesterly. I marched with Carter's column. His route was the shortest and most secret. With a part of his column I intended to surprise and capture Patterson, and from thence to strike McNeil.

About midnight April 19, when 30 miles distant from Patterson, Carter detached Lieutenant-Colonel [D. C.] Giddings-in command of his regiment (about 450 men), Reves' independent company of spies and guides, and two pieces of [J. H.] Pratt's battery-to move rapidly, cautiously, and secretly by a more direct and unfrequented route to surprise Patterson. When 12 miles from Patterson, abut daylight, Colonel Giddings surprised and handsomely captured the whole Federal picket from Patterson - 1 lieutenant and 24 men. He marched on, and could have successfully surprised the whole garrison, but that he moved too slowly; did not take sufficient risk for the nature of his expedition, and allowed his artillery to open when within 2 miles of the fort. The troops there (about 600 cavalry, under Colonel Smart) took the alarm, and precipitately fled to Pilot Knob, burning everything they could, but leaving behind a large supply of subsistence and some quartermaster's stores. Colonel Giddings pursued them vigorously for 7 miles killing, wounding, and capturing a number. All the prisoners taken except those in hospital I paroled.

On the evening of the 20th, as ordered, the two columns entered Patterson. Colonel Shelby's column encountered a Federal picket from Patterson, and killed or captured 8 or 10 of them.

On the 21st, I ordered Carters' column to march against McNeil in the direction of Bloomfield, and Shelby's column to march on Fredericktown, supposing that McNeil would attempt to make his escape to Ironton. If he remained in Bloomfield, Carter would whip him, and if he attempted to get to Ironton, Shelby would capture him. Shelby's column surprised Fredericktown on the morning of April 22, capturing dispatches ordering McNeil to Ironton. He was expected at Fredericktown on the 22nd.

McNeil left Bloomfield on the 21st, abandoning and burning a large amount of quartermaster's and commissary stores en route for Pilot Knob via Dallas.

On the 22nd, he learned of Shelby's column, and retreat hastily toward Cape Girardeau. Carter pursued him, hoping to prevent his reaching there, but was too late, owing to high water, marshes, and bad roads, besides having a longer route to march, with horses very much worn

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down by forced marches and want of forage. En route to Cape Girardeau, Carter with a small detachment of men charged and captured Captain [Stephen V.] Shipman and 40 men out of a guard of 60 men. I kept Shelby's column near Fredericktown, marching daily a few miles toward Cape Girardeau to catch McNeil if he marched toward Ironton, and to await information from Carter (whose dispatch bearers were captured by the enemy) and the junction of his column, and also to watch and learn of the movements of the Federals in the direction of Ironton. From Fredericktown I sent out a detachment of 90 men, under command of Captains [Williams T.] Lineback and [J. M.] Muse and Lieutenant [Josiah L.] Bledsoe, with instructions to burn and destroy the bridges over Big Greek, on the Iron Mountain and Saint Louis Railroad. The found a guard stationed at the point indicated of 250 or 300 men, whom they at once vigorously attacked, killing, wounding and capturing several, and succeeded in leaving one of the three bridges in flames. This detachment afterward rejoined their command at Bloomfield, having accomplished their work in a dashing manner.

On the 25th, I received dispatches from Carter that he had pursued McNeil to within 4 miles of Cape Girardeau. I immediately ordered Shelby to make a night march (some 30 miles) to Cape Girardeau, in order to form a junction with Carter. On learning the Federal forces were in the fortifications, I deemed it unwise to attack and storm the place. I so informed Colonel Shelby, and ordered him on the Jackson and Cape Girardeau road, to make a demonstration against the enemy, while I withdrew Carter by the Bloomfield road, intending to unite the columns at Jackson. Shelby's demonstration amounted almost to an attack. I deemed it necessary to bring Carter's column up to his support. I moved rapidly toward Shelby's column, and on arriving found that Shelby had driven the enemy's pickets and advanced forces into their works; that the enemy were admirably posted, possessing great natural advantages in position, supported by four large forts mounted with heavy guns, field artillery, and about 3,000 infantry and cavalry. As soon as the two columns had united, I withdrew toward and encamped them aground Jackson.

On the nigh of the 26th, a force of about 3,500 cavalry and artillery, under General Vandever, attacked Newton's regiment, who were encamped on the Jackson and Fredericktown road. Newton's loss was 2 killed and 6 or 8 wounded or captured.
In the mean time McNeil had been heavily re-enforced by water.

On the morning of the 27th, I found myself between two forces-McNeil on the east and Vandever on the west -either outnumbering my force, and both prepared to attack me simultaneously. At daylight I ordered my forces in retreat southward via bridge over White Water, Bloomfield, and crossing of Saint Francis at Chalk Bluff. Vandever and McNeil, with their combined force, pursued me. My effective fighting force did not exceed 3,500. The enemy had about 8,000-4,500 cavalry, 3,500 infantry, and fifteen pieces of artillery. I anticipated no damage or trouble except in crossing Saint Francis River, which was much swollen, rapid, unbridged, and no ferry-boats on it. When I commenced my retreat, I ordered details of the unarmed and non-effective to proceed rapidly to Chalk Bluff, under charge of my division quartermaster, to construct rafts for crossing. My retreat was orderly and slow. Vandever and McNeil did not seem anxious for a fight. Light rear-guard fighting was of daily occurrence. Shelby's or Carter's brigades were habitually in the rear always did their duty. On several occasions I offered battle when the advantage in position were greatly in my favor. My object was to give time to the bridge party.

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My division reached Chalk Bluff the evening of May 1. I dismounted the greater part of my command, selected a strong position about 4 miles from the crossing, where I formed line of battle to resist the advance of the enemy till my wagons, horses, and artillery had crossed. A little before day I quietly withdrew the men, and by sun-up my whole command was safely across. The pursuit here ceased.
My loss in the expedition is some 30 killed, 60 wounded, and 120 missing (stragglers), perhaps captured. I gained on the raid about 150 recruits and a great improvement in the number and quality of horses. The Federal loss must have been at least five times as great as mine in killed and wounded. In every instance when he made the attack he was repulsed.
The offices and men deserve special mention for their bravery, steadiness, and endurance. At no time were they in the least demoralized, but were always willing, even anxious, to fight.
I submit herewith a report of the brigade commanders. I will forward as soon as prepared the names of the killed, wounded, and missing of my command; also a list of Federal prisoners paroled.

Very respectfully,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major W. B. BLAIR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. DEPT. TRANS-MISS., Shreveport, La., June 4, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded. The expedition under General Marmaduke into Missouri was made more particularly on account of the scarcity of forage in Arkansas, it being deemed probable that he would be able to sustain himself, and thereby relieve Arkansas in a great degree of the large amount of forage supplying the army in that section.

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

Return of Casualties in Marmaduke's cavalry division during the expedition.
[Compiled from nominal lists.]
Killed. Wounded. Missing.
Command. Offic Men. Offic Men. Offic Men. Aggre
ers. ers. ers. gate.
Gordons' ..... 2 3 10 .... 29 44
Jeans' ..... 1 1 9 .... 3 14
Thompson's .... 1 5 ..... 10 16
Elliott's .... .... ... 2 .... ..... 2
Collins' .... .... .... 3 .... 6 9
19th Texas .... 5 1 18 ..... 9 33
21st Texas .... 1 5 10 .... 1 17
Morgan's .... 1 .... 3 ..... ..... 4
Burbridge's .... .... 1 6 ..... ..... 7
Newton's 1 2 .... 5 ..... 3 11
Kitchen's ... 2 .... 2 ..... .... 4
Total+... 1 14 12 73 ..... 61 161
* Lieutenant John Edwards accidentally killed.
+ No report from Green's brigade.

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